A Name Above the Rest: Weekly Message for 01-03-2023

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today’s feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is easy to overlook. That is partly because of the great solemnities of Christmas and Mary, Mother of God, that precede and overshadow it. It’s also partly because the feast is liturgically categorized as an optional memorial, meaning that a priest doesn’t have to celebrate it as the Mass of the day.

It’s unfortunate if the feast gets short attention.

Devotion to the Holy Name is deeply rooted in Scripture, especially in the Acts of the Apostles. Just repeating the name reverently can instill as much hope and comfort in a believer as it does fear in a demon. Reverence for the name of Jesus (which can be translated “God saves”) can be a way to distance ourselves from the coarseness that often surrounds us in the media and in public life.

That’s no small thing nowadays, since nastiness in public speech portends a culture in decline. To push back on that trend, to use our words for the glory of God, is one small but powerful way to witness to our faith in day-to-day life.

What does that mean in practice?

It means always using the name of Jesus and God reverently. It can include bowing our heads at the mention of Jesus’ name, even in private conversations. These little gestures reinforce a spirit of reverence within us.

And such reverence is noticed—it can even begin to affect the speech of those around us.

To grow in love for the Name, it might help to reflect on Jesus’ power to bring peace into our lives. To that end our Retreat Guide on Jesus Calming the Storm might be worth praying.

Consider doing it … for the sake of the Name.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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One Comment
  1. Some years ago, one of my work colleagues used the Holy name of Jesus to express frustration. I bowed my head at the exclamation, then she immediately apologized. I don’t think she was converted on the spot, but it sowed a seed.

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